Wout Van Aert grabs Belgian cyclocross gold: "Living on a cloud after the birth of Georges"

Wout Van Aert (26) is the new Belgian cyclocross champion after a demonstration in Meulebeke (West Flanders). Toon Aerts took the silver, with Michael Vanthourenhout coming third. Defending champion Laurens Sweeck had to be content with fourth place. 

It's Van Aert's fourth national title. He crossed the finishline with his thumb in his mouth, a reference to his newly-born son Georges. 

Van Aert set up a solo effort early in the race and dominated the rest of the event. He had started as the big favourite and did not disappoint. During the regular cyclocross season, Van Aert was often beaten by his big rival Mathieu Van der Poel, but as the Dutchman did not participate for obvious reasons, Van Aert made the most of this opportunity. He earned himself the Belgian tricolour jersey as Belgian champion, and also received a small shirt for her son. 

An emotional Van Aert told reporters that he had hardly slept the past 6 nights, "but apparently this is no problem if you are living on a cloud. I want to thank my wife Sarah for the past 9 months and dedicate this title to her and to Georges." (continue reading below the photo)

I didn't sleep a wink during the past 6 nights, but apparently this is no problem when you are living on a cloud

Wout Van Aert

In the women's race, Sanne Cant took her 12th national title. However, Lotte Kopecky, Belgium's best road cyclist who hadn't really prepared for this cyclocross race, made Cant work hard for her money. Alicia Frank took the bronze. Cant didn't have a successfull cyclocross season so far, as the women's races were dominated by the Dutch armada, but Cant took her chance in their absence.  

The race was held without spectators due to the corona restrictions. Typically taking place in winter only, cylocross is one the most popular sports in Belgium, but a number of organisers had to scrap this season's race because of financial problems. 

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